New to View: Feb. 21

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Feb. 21, unless otherwise noted:
Manchester by the Sea (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual content
The lowdown: Casey Affleck gives the performance of his career in this story of an emotionally damaged man who must come to terms with his past after he is named the guardian of his 16-year-old nephew.
“Manchester by the Sea” is graced with finely wrought acting, from Affleck to Michelle Williams to Kyle Chandler as the wise and affable older brother.
Young Lucas Hedges mixes the right amount of rebellion, cynicism, self-absorption and sympathy, while he struggles to maintain as much normalcy as he can in his now fatherless life.
Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan has created an unrelenting portrait of grief that drains you, but also captures and stirs your heart. You bleed for these characters, praying that they find healing or redemption.
The movie received six Academy Award nominations, including best picture, original screenplay, best actor for Affleck, best supporting actress for Williams and best supporting actor for Hedges.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16X9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a making of featurette, deleted scenes and a conversation with Lonergan.

Nocturnal Animals (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, language, nudity
The lowdown: “Nocturnal Animals” is a muddled, though stylish, drama about guilt, regret, revenge and isolation.
The movie is beautifully crafted by director Tom Ford, yet underneath the glamour is a cold and confusing feature that fails to connect with viewers.
The film stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as a divorced couple who discover dark truths about their relationship, each other and themselves.
The conduit for all of this is a manuscript that Gyllenhaal’s Edward, a struggling author, has written and sent to his ex-wife, Susan (Adams).
This novel is a violent story of murder, rape and redemption set in West Texas.
The movie continually jumps from Susan, who is seen mostly alone in her big, sterile Los Angeles home, to her imagining the brutal story that she is reading.
In between are flashbacks to her courtship and life with Edward.
And while all this sounds intriguing, Ford fails to create an emotional relationship with the audience.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby digital plus DVS and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 Dolby digital DVS; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a featurette on creating the story, a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production design and a featurette on director Tom Ford.

Bad Santa 2: Unrated (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Broad Green Pictures
Rated: Unrated and R, crude sexual content, language, nudity
The lowdown: Billy Bob Thornton returns as Willie Soke in this sequel that finds Willie again teaming up with sidekick Marcus (Tony Cox) to knock off a charity run by a beautiful Christina Hendricks.
The plan goes awry with the arrival of Willie’s mother, Sunny (Kathy Bates), and “the kid”, Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly).
The film offers some crude, low-brow humor that puts a satiric spin on the holiday season.
The Blu-ray contains the theatrical version as well as an unrated version that adds three additional minutes to the movie.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look at Thurman then and now; an adult version of “Jingle Bells”; an original animated series, “That’s My Willie”; a gag reel; an alternate opening and ending; a “Just Your Average Red Band Featurette”; and deleted scenes.

Bleed for This (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Release date: Feb. 14
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, nudity, sexual content, accident images
The lowdown: Miles Teller stars as boxer Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza in this true story about Pazienza’s incredible comeback from a severe injury.
The Rhode Island native achieved fame after winning two world title fights.
But his career was seemingly ended after he severed his spine in a car accident.
Against the orders of his doctor, Pazienza, with the help of his trainer, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), begins to train for a comeback in the ring a year after his accident.
The film received a 71 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com, with Teller’s performance singled out.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 2.0 Dolby digital plus DVS; English SDH and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 Dolby digital DVS; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look at the world of boxing, a featurette about Pazienza and deleted scenes.

Grace and Frankie: Season Two
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated, language
The lowdown: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin return in this Netflix series about the uneasy friendship between two women whose longtime marriages have imploded after their respective husbands have revealed they are gay and plan to marry.
The three-disc set features the entire second season as the women tackle the challenges of aging, family, relationships and, most importantly, dealing with each other.
The best part of this show is the interaction between Fonda and Tomlin. It is hilarious and, at times, touching.
Technical aspects: 1.90:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A gag reel is the major bonus component.

Mildred Pierce: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1945, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Joan Crawford won her only Academy Award for her portrayal of a devoted mother in this nourish drama about maternal sacrifice directed by the great Michael Curtiz.
The film adapted from a novel by James M. Cain, features a strong supporting cast, headed by Ann Blyth as Mildred’s materialistic, selfish and evil daughter.
The cast also includes Zachary Scott, Jack Carson, Bruce Bennett and Eve Arden.
This is the movie for which Crawford, believing she would not win the Oscar, skipped the ceremony because she was “sick.”
The digital restoration of the film perfectly captures the black-and-white, film noir atmosphere.
This was the second time in three years that Curtiz had directed a performer who went on the win an Oscar. This under-rated filmmaker also had directed “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” for which James Cagney won a best actor Academy Award.
And in 1943, Curtiz directed a little film called “Casablanca” that took home a best picture Oscar.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a conversation with film critics Molly Haskell and Robert Polito, an excerpt from a 1970 episode of “The David Frost Show” featuring Crawford, a 2002 feature-length documentary, “Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star,” a 2002 question-and-answer session with Blyth conducted by film historian Eddie Muller, a segment from a 1969 episode of “Today” featuring Cain and an essay about the film.

Beauty and the Beast (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2014, Shout! Factory
Rated: PG-13, fantasy violence, partial nudity, sensuality
The lowdown: Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux star in this French version of the classic fairy tale.
The familiar story finds Belle (Seydoux) taking her father’s place at the castle of the Beast (Cassel) after the father is sentenced to death for stealing a rose.
Belle, however, is not killed. Instead, she discovers a magical life as well as discovery the Beast’s secret: He is living under a horrible spell that only love can break.
This is an enchanting adaptation of the story that features strong performances by Cassel and Seydoux.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles; DVD: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is interviews with director Christophe Gans and cast members.

“3 Classic Films by Claude Chabrol” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1992-97, Cohen Film Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This three-disc set features a trio of dramas by noted French director Claude Chabrol.
The set features “Betty,” “Torment” (“L’Enfer”) and “The Swindle.”
Marie Trintignant gives a powerful performance as Betty, an alcoholic whose life has finally hit bottom.
Luckily, she falls under the care of an older woman with a similar background. But the woman’s motives may be questionable.
In “Torment,” Chabrol explores when jealously and obsession turn to madness. The story centers on a married couple who run a country hotel.
Over time, the husband becomes obsessed with his wife’s flirtations with the hotel’s guests.
“The Swindle” stars Isabelle Huppert and Michel Serrault as a pair of small-time con artists looking for the next big score.
They stumble upon a financial courier and snare him in their web of deceit.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; French 2.0 PCM; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include commentary tracks on “Torment” and “The Swindle” and an interview with actor Francois Cluzet from “The Swindle.”

Psychomania (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 1973, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Don Sharp directed this British entry into the motorcycle-“Wild Angels” genre, but with a twist.
This movie is about a group of zombie bikers who go on a rampage.
The Living Dead is a club that causes havoc on roadways. Gang leader Tom (Nicky Henson) learns that his mother is a Satanist.
When Tom discovers the secret of immortality, the name of his gang takes on a more literal meaning.
The movie, which costars veteran character actor and Academy Award-winner George Sanders, as well as Hammer veteran Beryl Reid, is an offbeat cult collector’s item.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1: 85:1 widescreen picture; English 1.0 LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus components include a featurette on the company that supplied the film’s costumes, an interview with “Riding Free” singer Harvey Andrews, an archival interview with composer John Cameron, an interview with Henson and an archival interview with Henson and other cast members.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Seasons (Music Box Films)

FOR KIDS
Scooby-Doo! Shaggy’s Showdown
(Warner Home Video, Feb. 14)

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD and STREAMING
Country: Portraits of an American Sound (Gravitas Ventures)
The Great & the Small (Breaking Glass Pictures)
Jackie (Fox Home Entertainment)
Man Down (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Moana (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Shut In (Fox Home Entertainment)
Voodoo (Freestyle Digital Media, Feb. 24)
Code of a Killer (Acorn TV, Feb. 27)

Coming next week: Doctor Strange
Moonlight

Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He reviews movies, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com. You also can follow Bloom on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook. Movie reviews by Bloom also can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

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